Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Categorical Bullshit! On...Jeopardy!

[ Cue theme music...Switch to Camera 1 for a swinging shot of the contestants and Mr. Trebek...aaaaand, guy in the booth! ]

"And now...Back...To…Jeopardy!"

Trebek: Welcome back everyone, we're ready to start the second round. I believe it's Kevin's turn to go first?
Contestant Kevin: I’ll take Bullshit Writers for $200, Alex.

Normally we don't tolerate swearing on the show, but considering the category,
let's sling some shit, shall we? 

Okay, here’s your answer. ‘It’s how 95% of today’s travel writers do their travel research.’

Kevin: What is…Google?

Trebek: Right you are, Kevin. You pick again.

Kevin: I think I’ll stick with Bullshit for $400, Alex.

Kevin: Who is Jean Folger?

Trebek: Right again! You’re on a roll.

Kevin: Gotta go with what I know. Bullshit Writers for $600 please.

Trebek: For $600 and a share of the lead. This city was recently ranked by a writer who has never been there as one of Japan’s best places to retire, despite the snot-freezing winters that last six months and the biggest attractions being skiing, getting drunk in Susukino and, in February, battling the 2 million people who descend on the annual Snow Festival.

Kevin: (chuckling) Ah yes, I know it well. What is Sapporo?

Trebek: Right you are! That takes you to $5400 and that takes us to our next break. But before that, I’d like to ask Kevin about his seeming expertise on the subject of bullshit writers. Kevin, what about that?

Kevin: Well Alex, I’m from New Jersey so I was introduced to bullshit at a pretty early age. Later on I decided to pursue a career in writing and…well, let’s just say there’s bullshit everywhere.

Trebek: And Jean Folger. What do you know about her?

"You, my good man, are a warrior of truth."

Kevin: Actually nothing, Alex, except that she wrote that bullshit article on retiring in Japan.

Trebek: Yes, I’m ashamed to admit I wouldn’t have gotten that question correct. But you did it! Can you expound on the article a little bit for us?

Kevin: Sure can, Alex. It’s a classic case of search engine writing, the woman clearly has little if any experience with Japan, spouting off facts that read like a plagiarized Wikipedia extract.

Trebek: That’s quite an indictment.

Kevin: You have no idea. First off, Fukuoka? One of Newsweek’s ‘10 Most Dynamic Cities’, she says. In (ahem) 2006. Nine years ago – which, granted, when you’re 65 probably seems like the blink of an eye.

Trebek: I wouldn’t know. (Laughter from the audience.)

Kevin: Yes you would. (Surprised, high-pitched laughter from the audience.) Now sure, Monocle ranked Fukuoka #10 in the World in Livability in 2014, but they call Fukuoka, population 1.5 million, a small city. It’s safe to assume these people can’t even Google properly.

Trebek: You’ve been there I take it?

Kevin: Yes I have. It’s great when you’re energetic and virile, but multiply Miami by four, then add yellow sand dust and pollution blowing in from China. That’s Fukuoka. And here’s a look at all that ‘green space’ Jean talks about. Yes, all that wrinkly green space, for all the mountain climbing a retiree desires.

Fukuoka, tinted with the colorful air blowing in from China.

Trebek: …Interesting. What other cities does she mention?

Kevin: Kyoto’s next – on her list as well as on Wikipedia’s. Can’t disparage Kyoto although for all its cultural richness it’s still dense and urban and, as Wikipedia and Jean both fail to mention, fantastically humid in the summer. Your average wicker couch potato retiree from the States would be on a plane to Palm Springs by the 4th of July.

Trebek: No Palm Springs in Japan? (smile, no laughter)

Kevin: Not that Jean would know about. Instead she tells us to head for Hokkaido, Japan’s equivalent of Alaska.

Trebek: Some retirees would probably love Alaska.

Kevin: Name one.


Kevin: You plan on returning home to Ontario when you retire?

Trebek: So (clears throat), what else can you tell us, Kevin? Does Okinawa show up on the list? I was there in 2007, I really loved the people.
Retire to Okinawa? Nah, I really think you'd enjoy huge and crowded Tokyo...
Kevin: Nope, no Okinawa. Apparently Jean doesn’t think retirees would enjoy the tropical climate, the old Ryukyu culture and the laid-back island atmosphere. Instead she tells the discerning would-be expat retiree to consider “overwhelmingly huge and crowded” Tokyo for, among other things, the nightlife of Shinjuku and an extensive live music scene. Real draws for your average retiree. Plus, she says, Tokyo’s central location makes the rest of Japan accessible “if Tokyo doesn’t have what you’re looking for”. If Tokyo doesn’t have…? Helloooo! Jeeeean! Wikipedia, er, I mean you, just told us Tokyo is the world’s most populous metropolitan area, and that we would never run out of things to do. Look, Google-head, if Tokyo doesn’t have what you are looking for then you don’t belong in Tokyo.

Trebek: That makes a lot of sense. Okay, we’ve got just enough time for one more, Kevin.

Kevin: And I’ve got just enough gastric juices for one more, Alex. Yokohama, Jean’s final frontier of Japanese retirement, is “home to numerous museums, galleries, traditional Japanese gardens, parks and the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, which holds dozens of shops, restaurants, art galleries, and a 300-seat performance center.” I’ll tell you what, if this is what retirees want then why isn’t everyone retiring to Los Angeles?

Trebek: Maybe more people should. (confrontational stare)

Kevin: Like you?

Trebek: Well, I would, except I do have a Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society so I have a whole slew of places I’m considering retiring to.

Kevin: Any in Japan?

Trebek: No, actually. Do you have any suggestions?

Kevin: Invite me up to your ranch in Creston and I’ll tell you anything you want to know – about places I’ve actually been to, of course.
Yes, tell those gaijin they can go live in Tokyo.

Trebek: Deal. Okay, let’s get back to our match! Kevin, you still have control of the board.

Kevin: I’ll take Bullshit Writers for $800, Alex.

Trebek: Answer – (Star Wars Storm Trooper laser gun sound effects) – is our first Daily Double of the round! Kevin, how much would you like to wager?

Kevin: I’ll bet all of it, Alex.

Trebek: Okay, here’s the answer for a very confident Kevin. This letter-perfect lady’s 1987 autobiography already has 12 reviews on Amazon. She’s also the star of the straight-to-video ‘Goddess of Love’.

Kevin: Who is Vanna White?

Trebek: (to the audience’s thunderous applause) That is absolutely correct, you now have $10,800 and you’re still in control.

Kevin: Let’s finish it off. Bullshit Writers for $1,000.

Trebek: Okay, for one thousand and a clean sweep of Bullshit Writers, here’s your answer. This American-born expat now living in Japan believes, inexplicably, that his humor has a place in the blogosphere, compelling him to persist with his blog ‘All Over the Road’…

Note: In the course of writing this piece I learned a few things about Alex Trebek - via Wikipedia of course. And I now have even more respect for him. Even though he is Canadian.

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